PDS Community Celebrates Lunar New Year

On a snowy remote-only school day this week, the Princeton Day School community celebrated the Lunar New Year by tuning in at 4pm for a YouTube video premiere shaped by students in the US Chinese Club and the Community Multicultural Development Team (CMDT). PDS Chinese Club co-heads Jason Ma '22, Bolin Shen '22, Linda Qu '22 and Arthur Zhu '21 emceed a powerful exploration of the Lunar New Year in Asian culture, with demonstrations of favorite holiday foods being prepared, traditional dances, spectacular musical performances by students, poetry, artwork and shared perspectives offered by several students and adults across the Lower, Middle and Upper School.

  • LS students shared traditional aspects and folklore of the Lunar New Year. Each student presented a segment of the story along with an illustration they made to accompany their portion of the story. (below)
  • Highlights from the Dragon Dance performed by lower schoolers at a Lunar New Year celebration in pre-COVID times inspired everyone to look forward to celebrating together on campus as community next year. 
  • Alice Wu '25 began the MS portion with a brief history of the origins of Lunar New Year celebrations in Chinese culture. She was joined by other MS students who shared their favorite Lunar New Year traditions.
  • Alice, Cynthia Shen '25, and Sophia Zhou '25 performed a San Ju Ban, which is a form of Chinese folk art similar to slam poetry. It consists of three-and-a-half rhyming sentences performed by three different people, usually with a drum accompaniment. (below)
  • Alice also performed the "Boat Song," an Indonesian folk song made popular when it was covered by "Asia's eternal Queen of Pop" Teresa Teng.
  • Emmy Demorre '24, Elaine Wu '23, and Arthur Zhu demonstrated how to cook some of their favorite family meals that are shared in celebration of the New Year.
  • A series of beautiful musical performances began with Amanda Chen '24 singing a popular Chinese song from 2018 about spreading love and hope.
  • Cellist Emily Zhu '22 performed "The Butterfly Lover's Concerto," one of the most famous orchestral works in Chinese music. (below)
  • Linda Qu performed "Fisherman's Song" on the guzheng, one of the most recognizable traditional Chinese musical instruments.
  • Yash Pazhianur '21 demonstrated a do-it-yourself method for building a red lantern over a bed of music, which he composed himself.
  • Bolin Shen shared her gallery of traditional Chinese ink paintings in a video montage.
  • US Chinese teacher and faculty advisor to the Chinese Club Wenting Chen shared her childhood experiences preparing for and celebrating Lunar New Year. "To me, the Chinese New Year is not about food, red envelopes or even making personal resolutions. It is about sharing the responsibilities to take care of each other," she said. She also explained the cultural significance of the Year of the Ox.
  • US English teacher and CMDT Chair Caroline Lee also shared her childhood experiences that helped shape her identity, including Chinese New Year celebrations. She brought her reflections into view for all with treasured family photos, including scenes of celebrations they attended together in New York City's Chinatown.

Enjoy Arthur Zhu's mother's recipe in this eight-minute video (with Arthur's narration)

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